Rourkela: Maintaining that 10 out of 11 national Hockey players and 52 out of 53 international players from the State belong to Sundargarh district, Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray on Tuesday said that establishment of a High-Performance Centre for Hockey in Rourkela will be a fitting tribute to the sportspersons.
Ray’s request came after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during his visit to Sundargarh on Sunday announced establishment of Astro-Turf in every block of the tribal district and High Performance Centre for Hockey at Bhubaneswar.
“I appreciate the State Govt’s resolve to promote the game and the efforts being undertaken to position Odisha as the sports capital of the country. It will open up new avenues of growth for the athletes of the State but to ensure that they are duly benefitted from this emergent opportunity, it is necessary that apart from Bhubaneswar, adequate measures are also undertaken in a mission mode to develop the sports infrastructure in the other regions of the State too and in particularly in the tribal districts,” said Ray in his Facebook account.
Ray posted, “The Govt’s decision of establishing Astro-Turf in every block of the district, nonetheless a welcome one, but is totally inadequate and much more needs to be done. 10 out of 11 National Players and 52 out of 53 International Players from the State belong to Sundargarh district and a fitting tribute to the sportspersons as well the sport will be to establish a High-Performance Centre for Hockey at Rourkela too so that the athletes of the district have access to world-class training technology and state-of-the-art facilities.”
“This apart, organizing International Hockey Matches in Rourkela is another aspect which needs to be given a serious and thoughtful consideration by the State Govt as it would greatly boost the morale of the players,” argued Ray.
Notably, ahead of the Men’s Hockey World Cup scheduled to be held from November 28 to December 16 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, an exhibition Hockey match was held at Rourkela between Australia XI and Odisha XI on Sunday.
“The match witnessed a stadium full of enthusiastic and passionate crowds, notwithstanding the fact it was only an exhibition match and not a world cup match. The craze and passion for the sport is a vivid illustration of the fact that Hockey is not only a sport in the tribal district of Sundargarh but a way of life and all of us will agree that, though everyone’s heart beats for Hockey but it is the people of Sundargarh district whose heart beats the most for Hockey,” said Ray.